4 Unforgettable Methods of Hydroponics


There is debate over the classification of the different methods or types of hydroponics. We have divided hydroponics into four distinct methods of Hydroponics based on either the way the plants are placed into a system or where the nutrients come from. Later we will talk about different methods of nutrient delivery or how the nutrients are delivered to the plants. Each type has its own unique set of characteristics, but basically, the common thread is they all use nutrient-enriched water instead of soil to supply nutrients to the plant roots. Hydroponics is considered the basis for all other types and methods of hydroponic growing.



Hydroponics, The father of all the other methods of hydroponics

Hydroponics Methods of Hydroponics
NFT System, Source

“True” Hydroponics is a type of horticulture where plants are grown without the use of soil or a rooting medium.  Roots get their nutrients from purified water with a mixed-in chemical or organic fertilizer. Hydroponics systems can be set up indoors or out. The flexibility of different hydroponic branches and system design methods allows indoor farmers and home hobbyist gardeners to grow food anywhere, year-round, with higher net yields, in smaller spaces, all while using fewer resources.





Hydroculture, One of the oldest methods of hydroponics

hydroculture Methods of Hydroponics
Hydroculture, Source

Hydroculture is a form of hydroponics but adds the use of an inorganic or organic solid growing medium. Plants are placed into, and roots grow through, an inert medium to physically support the roots while growing instead of just being placed directly into a system. Popular mediums are clay aggregate (LECA), perlite, gravel, sand, or other aggregate or substrates. This system is popular with larger plants that have a bigger root system that requires extra support.





Aquaponics, One of the newest methods of hydroponics

Aquaponics Methods of Hydroponics
Aquaponics, Source

Aquaponics is a hydroponic system, the only difference is where the nutrients for the water solution comes from. Aquaponics is a hybrid food production system that combines conventional aquaculture (raising fish and other aquatic animals) and hydroponics in a symbiotic environment. Nutrient-rich aquaculture water loaded with fish waste is fed to hydroponic plants supplying them with a natural fertilizer. The plants naturally purify the water and convert ammonia into nitrates, then the system returns the water back to the fish tank. A complicated system to manage, but when done correctly can be the most earth-friendly and rewarding way to grow your plants…and fish. A popular and ever-growing deviation of aeroponics is fogponics or atmoponics. Fogponics uses a nebulizer to further break down the water droplets in size to a fine mist or fog enhancing the nutrient delivery to the roots.





Bioponics, Can be added to all the methods of hydroponics

Organic fruits and vegetables growing in compost
Organic fruits and vegetables, Source

Bioponics, while technically not a method is an ever-growing and expanding technique that adds beneficial bacterial and fungi microorganisms from aquatic animal or plant waste instead of these chemical fertilizers. So it’s Aquaponics? Not really. Unlike an Aquaponics system where the water loaded with fish waste is constantly fed to the plant roots and then recycled back into the fish tank, these beneficial microorganisms are grown elsewhere, packaged, shipped, and added to the plant water at a later time as required. The proof is in the plant growth that adding these beneficial bacteria and fungi enhances the appearance, size, and volume of plants with vs without the bioponic mixture. Studies have also shown that if mismanaged, these bacteria can add unwanted diseases that hydroponics initially limits or eliminates like salmonella, e-coli, and listeria which are dangerous to humans as well as a plethora of potential plant diseases. Custom mixtures abound here and much testing is needed to see if this new addition to hydroponics is a safe viable addition to an already ever-expanding area of agriculture.




In Conclusion

In the most recent years of modern hydroponics history, there have been some great advances in technology each with its own pros and cons. The advent of plastics has aided tremendously in the advancement in modern hydroponics. More indoor farmers and indoor hobbyist gardeners are combining different branches and system design methods with fantastic results, growing crops faster, larger, healthier in less space, and with fewer resources than ever before in history. Which one of these branches will you buy or build? What Method or Technique will you use to build your hydroponic system?





Picture of Dani


I'm Dani, I come from a long history of migrant farmers. In high school I wrote a paper about how my father brought us over the Texas border to give us a better life. During college, I worked part time with him in the farming industry. After receiving a degree in Urbanism from Columbia University, I started to realize how important the role of the food chain was to urban inner cities. I began studying different types of Indoor and vertical faming solutions. I started designing and building my own hydroponic systems and have never looked back.